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5 Mar, 2014

The physical, psychological and spiritual benefits of skiing

Smiling skiing family selfie

It goes without saying that a trip to the mountains for a spot of skiing is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, although many people may not be aware that winter sports can, in fact, be considerably more beneficial to one's health than many other physical pursuits. This is because skiing - or snowboarding, for those who'd prefer - is more than just a workout. Rather, it enables us to transcend our everyday lives by taking us to a totally new location where we are surrounded by nature and forces us to engage our body and mind.

A number of tests and studies have been conducted over the years to highlight exactly what benefits can be gained from skiing, with the results showing that it can be used to treat everything from stress to insomnia. Here's a look at a few of the ways that skiing can help you.

Improves cognitive capacity

According to the US Centres for Disease Control, skiing is better than most other forms of exercise because it requires the use of the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, while also forcing us to make strategic decisions as we go along, choosing the best route and remaining aware of other moving objects around us. This combination is thought to help people think more clearly, and can even increase cognitive capacity, meaning that skiers are likely to be better learners in other areas of life, while also having less chance of suffering from a mental decline in old age.

The outdoor setting also plays a role in helping us achieve this, as fresh air and closeness to nature are thought to be important in keeping the mind alert and stimulated.

Improves sleep

It's no secret that exercise helps us to burn any excess energy that may be preventing us from enjoying a full night's sleep, although skiing is once again superior to many other types of sport in this regard because the relatively thin air at high altitudes causes the body to burn more fuel than normal. This is the case even after the slopes have closed for the night, with the aerobic system having to work harder just to keep the blood oxygenated. As a result, people tend to sleep better at high altitudes, and this, in turn, can have a number of other positive effects - such as improved mood regulation and decision-making skills.

Fights depression

For those who suffer from non-clinical forms of depression, the cause is usually a lack of inspiration or spontaneity in their daily routine. For example, those who spend their days working in an office are likely to feel trapped in their cyclical lifestyle, with the four walls of their workplace limiting their horizons. Going skiing can significantly reduce any anxiety or depression that people may be feeling as a result of this, with the vast mountain scenery providing a greater sense of freedom and space.

Boosts core strength

Having a strong core is regarded by many as the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, giving people a greater sense of stability that then permeates through to their mental health as well. Skiing helps us to develop our core muscles, as these are automatically called into play when we try to keep ourselves balanced. Naturally, it's always a good idea to train these muscles before hitting the slopes rather than waiting until you're on the snow and hoping your core holds out - but at the very least, skiing should provide an incentive to increase your core strength.

To book a relaxing and renewing ski holiday, call one of our ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email sales@skiweekends.com.